Microsoft debuts new Terminal app, next-gen Windows Subsystem for Linux for power users

Though the Sets tabbed interface may be dead within Windows, it's alive on the Terminal.

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is preparing an updated Windows Terminal application, alongside an updated Windows Subsystem for Linux, for power users who enjoy diving into the guts of the operating system.

When Linux arrived on the Anniversary Edition three years ago, it was considered one of the more revolutionary aspects of Windows—a surprising embrace of the open-source operating system that Microsoft had once resisted.

Microsoft unveiled both updates at Microsoft Build, its developer conference in Seattle. Microsoft said a preview of the Windows Terminal app is currently available, while the first WSL 2 preview will be available later this year. 

Though both interfaces are typically predicated upon the command line, the new Terminal app looks more like Windows and the Edge web browser. There are—gasp!—tabs, just like Edge. There are tear-away windows. The new Terminal app also includes East Asian fonts, emojis and ligatures, plus support for themes and extensions, Microsoft said.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux is essentially an embedded Linux window. The update, Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (or WSL 2), is based on the Linux 4.19 kernel, Microsoft said in a blog post. The same technology is built within Azure, Microsoft said, and will reduce boot time and lower memory use to reduce its impact on the system. “WSL 2 also improves filesystem I/O performance, Linux compatibility, and can run Docker containers natively so that a VM is no longer needed for containers on Windows,” Microsoft said. 

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Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
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